PSS Spring '11

The Odd Squad

Three alumnae partner for the Finger Lakes Triathlon

by Sarah Tompkins '10


When the sun rises over Canandaigua Lake on the morning of the Finger Lakes Triathlon, three William Smith athletes—Sandy Scherzer gross '85, kathy killius Regan '82, P'13 and Elinor kotzen Spokes '85—will rise above the competition as team members in the triathlon's Olympic Relay.

With each Heron hailing from across the eastern united States, team-training for the Triathlon has been a bit unusual, comprised mostly of e-mails containing workout notes and words of encouragement. However, members of "Team William Smith, Herons in Heat," are doing their best to do their alma mater proud.

"We could have chosen anyone for each leg," remarks Team Captain and director of Alumnae Relations Regan, who will be completing the running leg of the relay. "But we really wanted William Smith women."

The team roster looks promising with Spokes on wheels and gross taking on the depths of Canandaigua Lake. Regan, who has finished a marathon and several sprint-distance triathlons, and gross, a lifelong swimmer, discussed the possibility of partnering for a triathlon after speaking at an alum gathering, but were down a cyclist. When Regan saw Spokes participating in the Tour de Finger Lakes bike ride at her 25th Reunion, she knew she'd found the woman to complete the dream team.


"I might not be the first one in!" admits Spokes, who is no stranger to bike races – she even met her husband thanks to cycling. "it's just nice to find others who share a passion for being outdoors. The true spirit of this event is camaraderie."

Spokes isn't daunted by her leg of the relay. Although short in comparison to her typical rides—the cycling leg of the Triathlon is just 25 miles—distance is no longer her greatest obstacle. "i'm the mother of three kids, and it's difficult to carve out the time to ride, but summer is my time on two wheels," says Spokes, who jumped at the opportunity to return to campus. "Whenever i have the chance to do a fun ride in a beautiful place, i never turn it down!"

Not daunted by the prospect of the hilly landscape, Spokes is looking forward to being part of a triathlon. "i may be huffing and puffing— but i'd rather have hills. When you get to the peak, you get the best views!"


Rounding out the team is swimming ringer gross who will swim in Canandaigua Lake, a distance of .9 miles. A swimmer in college and a member of u.S. Masters, gross is no stranger to freestyle. The alumna's strongest asset promises to be her sense of team spirit. She explains that the collective responsibility of being a team member is one of the triathlon's greatest perks. "i'm a very goaloriented person—and as part of a team i am really held accountable," explains gross.

Although her last open-ocean swim was in 1999, gross has her game face—and her swim cap—on. "i would have preferred to swim across keuka since it's only .7 miles," jokes gross. "Honestly, i think our biggest concern is going to be the paparazzi."

Despite any worries, media-related or otherwise, gross is excited to partner with fellow alumnae. "it's been wonderful working with really supportive—but different —types of athletes," says gross. "it's very motivating!"

Assessing her team, Regan looks at the triathlon as a fun and creative way to bring together a group of athletes and William Smithers. it may not be the most difficult race each member has participated in, but it will certainly go down as one of the most enjoyable. "it's all about having fun," says Regan. "And girl power!"



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